Minor League Free Agents Announced

Baseball America released its annual list of minor league free agents (the entire list is in the links below), and here are the Mariners players. I bolded the names of those who played for Tacoma in either 2015 or 2016 (or both).

Seattle Mariners (26)
RHP:
Geovanny Acosta (DSL), Al Alburquerque (AAA), Bryan Evans (AA), Mayckol Guaipe (AAA), Osmer Morales (Hi A), Ramon Morla (Hi A), Dillon Moyer (SS), Kevin Munson (AAA), Isaac Sanchez (AA), Kyle Schepel (AA), Forrest Snow (AAA)
LHP: Joselito Cano (SS), Danny Hultzen (AA), Brandon Sisk (AA), Kraig Sitton (AAA)
C: Rob Brantly (AAA), Ryan Casteel (AA), P.J. Jones (AAA)
2B: Luis Benoit (DSL)
3B: Patrick Brady (AA), Renny Osuna (AA)
SS: Benji Gonzalez (AA)
OF: Mike Baxter (AAA), Leon Landry (AA), Ismael Pena (R), Ryan Strausborger (AAA)

Don’t be surprised if the Mariners re-sign some of these players – quite a few still have a lot value, at least at the Triple-A level.

In particular, I think Kraig Sitton would be a good choice for the Mariners to try to re-sign, due to the shortage of left-handed relievers in upper levels of the organization.

And are we really prepared for a world without Forrest Snow in the M’s system? I know I’m not ready for it.

Time for another… Triple-A All-Star Flashback!

Tacoma is hosting the 30th annual Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium on July 12. We’ll spend the winter looking back at the previous years, to give fans an idea what they can expect in Tacoma this summer.

1991

A Mariners prospect took center stage in the fourth Triple-A All-Star Game, held at Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium.

The Mariners were still affiliated with Calgary in 1991, and their star performer was first baseman Tino Martinez. Martinez spent most of the 1991 season with the Cannons, batting .326 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI – and a that-really-happened ratio of 82 walks to 44 strikeouts.

Martinez was chosen as a starter in the game, batting third for the American League affiliates. Alas, he went hitless in the game – a 6-5 National League win.

The other big future star in the game was Kenny Lofton, who started in center field for the NL while representing the Tucson Toros. Lofton hit a single, stole a base, and scored a run – all things he would do many times in his borderline Hall of Fame career.

The 1991 game had fewer future major league stars than the other games we have looked at so far, but it made up for it by being a good baseball game: trailing 4-2 going to the bottom of the eighth inning, the NL scored four runs to take a 6-4 lead, and withstood a ninth inning AL rally to win 6-5. Tucson third baseman Gary Cooper hit the go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning.

1991 All-Star Game Fun Facts

  • The starting pitcher for the AL was Denny Neagle, who was with the Portland Beavers that year before breaking in with the Twins and getting traded to Pittsburgh. He went on to win 124 big league games, including a 20-win season with Atlanta in 1997.
  • Other players to appear in the game who went on to play in the majors for extended stints included: catcher Todd Hundley, outfielder Darren Lewis and Chad Curtis, infielders Rey SanchezPhil Plantier, Chris Donnels, and Andujar Cedeno, and pitchers Rick Reed and Roger Mason.
  • Current Nashville Sounds manager Steve Scarsone was the top performer in the game, going 3-for-4 with an RBI for the NL affiliates. He played for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 1991.
  • The Tacoma Tigers lone all-star was reliever Kevin Campbell, who posted a 1.80 ERA over 75 innings that year in the PCL. He went on to pitch in parts of five seasons for the Oakland A’s and Minnesota Twins, appearing in 77 big league games.
  • For the first time in Triple-A All-Star Game history, neither of the managers became big league managers later in their careers – although NL manager Bob Skinner had a brief run as a major league skipper long before 1991.
  • One of the game’s coaches is a current major league manager: Philadelphia Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin was a coach for the NL, representing Nashville.
  • The game drew 20,725 fans, which remains the Triple-A All-Star Game record to this day. We will not be breaking the record in 2017 in Tacoma unless we triple the size of Cheney Stadium before July 12. Is there any way to bring in two or three temporary upper decks? I kid, I kid.
  • Nobody comes to the games to watch the umpires, but the Triple-A All-Star crew included Phil Cuzzi and Angel Hernandez, who were promoted to the majors shortly after the game and are both still in the big leagues.
  • For the only time in Triple-A All-Star Game history, the Home Run Derby was split into left-handed (Lee Stevens) and right-handed (Gary Cooper) champions. I have no idea why.

Like ’em or not, we’ll keep doing these Triple-A All-Star Flashbacks all winter long, because I think they’re fun.

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